Sony SCD XA9000Es v. McIntosh MVP-871 comparison?

 

New member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 10
Registered: Jun-09
Has anyone done any side-by-side comparisons between the Sony SCD-XA9000ES and the McIntosh MVP-871? I have a Mc and have found the transport to be a bit "plasticy" and the resulting sound having a slight "haze". That is, not 100% clear sounding. I had a Sony 5400 about a year ago and it was not bad, but wanted to know how the older brother 9000 bucked up against an 871.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3258
Registered: Feb-07
Are you talking solely about SACD playback between the units?

I've read that the Sony SACD players are actually quite good. It is a Sony format IIRC.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 12
Registered: Jun-09
One of the major concerns I have with the 871 is its build. The transport is slow to load and flimsy. For the $$$ paid for the machine I'd expect a more solid and robust transport. Less than a year ago I had a 5400ES. It had pretty good 2CH playback quality, but it lacked 5.1 access with most other devices as it was only accessible through the HDMI and was suited for a Sony device (not a surprise). I then had an NAD M5, which had all sorts of issues. The 871 "haze" issue noted in my original doc discussion is like the playback mid and higher frequencies are damped and not "crisp".
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3259
Registered: Feb-07
I noticed that about my MCD-201 as well. The transport tray was super-flimsy as well. It was just a cheap tray from a computer, I think.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 13
Registered: Jun-09
I hate to say this but I have an old Teac CD player from the late '80's that is solid, fast ... and ... still works good (in the dog house application). I guess this brings up the question is Mc overrated these days? I have had two pieces of Mc equipment in the last year and both have been in/out of the shop for various reasons.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3260
Registered: Feb-07
Ask me that in 30 years when I'm still listening to my Mac integrated ;-)

Doubt the CD player will last that long.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14180
Registered: May-04
.

Judging the quality of a digital player by the drawer's appearance is about as telling as kicking the tires on a car. The drawer delivers the disc to the transport proper and it is not a functioning part of the transport while the player is in operation. On a front loading player the disc should be removed from contact with the drawer (raised slightly) and then physically clamped in place before operation begins. Unless you've observed the operation of the transport with the cover of the player removed you really don't have any idea what the actual transport looks like or how it functions.

Could Mac have provided a more substantial drawer for the amount of money you paid? Sure, they could have but maybe they also know the drawer is nothing more than a delivery system to the real goods.

Depending on which transport Mac chose for their player set up time can be from a few seconds to what seems to be too long for some users. It is, afterall, a function of how the player reads the subcodes embedded in the disc's information. Some read several times which typically results in a player that reads and plays most discs. It's not a universal truth but players that set up quickly are typically not as good at playing every disc you try unles they rely on heavy buffering and error correction which can impact sound quality. Set up time is a function of the particular transport chosen (of which there are surprisingly few options today for CD players) and some manufacturers prefer a specific transport for other values beyond quick set up time.


Regarding your "haze" issue, it's quite possible what you preceive as a lack of clarity when compared to the Sony is what makes the Mac appealing to some listeners while the "crisp" sound of the Sony would drive other listeners out of the room after a few minutes.

I don't believe you mentioned whether you had auditioned the Mac pieces before making a purchase.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3262
Registered: Feb-07
That's good to know about the disc drawer Jan. I was little disconcerted about the flimsiness of the trays on the 201 and 301, but if they really have no function than to receive the disc into the unit, then I can't see an issue.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 14
Registered: Jun-09
I additioned the 871 prior to purchase. The sys config was, of course, Mc top to bottom in a sound room. What was not done is make other source device comparisons with the same equipment in the same room to measure relative change on the spot. Regarding the mechanics of the CD changer itself I have noticed subtle changes (from time of purchase to present) in the manner in which my 871 has ingested and returned the platter and the manner in which the electronics have read the discs (i.e. brand new SACD discs). The machine was purchased in May 2009.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 15
Registered: Jun-09
As a sidebar note to the discussion of mechanical integrity of the 871 drawer, my concern is a concern of longevity. As in the case of computer devices the most likely devices to fail first are peripheral devices, hard drives, etc. over that of motherboards and chipsets. When comparing the 871 to a late '80s Teac device there are definite and obvious mechanical differences down to the types of gear drivers and materials.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14182
Registered: May-04
.

Digital players today are made differently than they were in the 1980's. I don't know what you're getting at with your comments. You have quite a collection of negatives against the Mac.

You seem uncomfortable with the Mac player. If that's the case, then I would suggest you sell it and buy the machine you like.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13927
Registered: Dec-04
A big heavy drawer demands a big heavy motor (noise)? with heavy gears to drive the works, all gliding on heavy beaings.

Merely substituting the tray for a lighter piece, yet retaining the heft of the drive works might make a Mac player.

















Or a Volvo.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 731
Registered: Jul-07
I've owned disk players from Technics, Panasonic, Oppo, Samsung, Sony, NAD, and Eastern Electric....and have never had a tray failure in any of them.....no matter the construction. I've had other problems with some of them, but never the tray. I don't think the tray on the Mac should be your focal point. You eluded to some inconsistency with the reading of certain disks. I'm not sure what specific concern you have, but different formats are read and buffered differently and would potentially take different load times as the software and hardware do their thing. Do they load and read successfully every time, and play flawlessly ? If so, what's the issue ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3266
Registered: Feb-07
I think Chris has a really good point here. In the end, the only thing that matters is the quality of the playback of the machine. When I first got my 301 I was a little surprised at the load time for CD's, but so far the machine has played every disc I've ever thrown at it flawlessly, while sounding great in the process. Even discs that I've had for 20 years and are all scratched to hell still play without a skip.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 16
Registered: Jun-09
I guess I have a bit of a different take. When I buy any type of device (be it an audio device, computational device and even a tool) in which I am putting down some sort of money that many might considered modestly high, then I am looking at the overall package - sound, construction and mechanical pieces. Has my 871 had issues with mechanics? It has had a few issues. Whether is was related to the drawer, the transport, motherboard or the platter itself it has stubbled a few times when having a few other devices available in which a stubble did not occur. Was I a little surprised? Yes. Is it a show stopper? I'm not sure. This is why I posted the original posting to see if anyone else was having an issue and had other devices (such as a Sony XA9000ES) to compared against. Some of the concerns where not unique to the 871. I have an MR88 as well (new out of the box). Have had numerous issues with this device and the device has gone back to service a few times with no correction. One might ask, "am I hard on equipment?" After 40+ years working with all sorts of electronics I have a pretty good feel for normal and customary care and maintenance. In a relative sense, I measure the qualities of materials and workmanship across decades, not in a short term sampling of time. Does the 871 sound good? Yes, it sounds good (compared to 3 previous devices). Does it represent a close match to reality? Probably so, with a few exceptions. Is there better? I am sure. Am I concerned about the machine(s)? Frankly, yes. After having both devices for about four months I would not have expected to encounter issues (considering the investment).
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 734
Registered: Jul-07
Fair enough. If I laid down that kind of cash and had issues I'd be concerned too, unless I got stellar service to go with the investment. Plastic trays are one thing, not functioning properly is something else.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14184
Registered: May-04
.

"I have had two pieces of Mc equipment in the last year and both have been in/out of the shop for various reasons."


I'm still not sure what your real issues are or what caused you to post here. You state you have had two Mac components in and out of service for various issues in only four months time and you have not had a satisfactory resolution to your perceived problems. In neither case have you explained exactly what those "issues" have been. Are the two componets the disc player and the tuner or the tuner and another Mac component? Is one of the issues that cannot be resolved the quality of the plastic in the loading drawer? Or that another player will set up a disc the Mac will refuse? How would you expect Mac to solve this problem to your satisfaction?



If a component is not functioning to your satisfaction, you should have a technician examine it for proper operation. You have not stated whether a reported problem was identified by the tech and not properly repaired, only that you are not satisfied with the unit as returned to you. If you're not satisfied the local tech can perform the diagnosis or the repair to your satisfaction, then send the unit to Mac themself. I would tend to trust an in-store Mac technician simply due to the fact most Mac retailers have a reputation for longevity and high value customer service - not all but most. However, I have worked in dealerships where a technician is handed a complaint and they simply cannot duplicate the issue. For those instances Mac allows the client to send the unit to their main repair facilites for a more complete testing with equipment often not available to in-store service centers. So send the unit to Mac - though complaining the thickness of the loading drawer and its gears is not to your expectations isn't going to get the drawer changed to anything else.


"When I buy any type of device (be it an audio device, computational device and even a tool) in which I am putting down some sort of money that many might considered modestly high, then I am looking at the overall package - sound, construction and mechanical pieces."


Then surely you noticed the construction of the loading tray before you agreed to make the purchase, no?

If not and you drove off the lot in a car with only three tires, then who is really at fault here? As explained, the loading tray has nothing to do with the playback quality of the player or its reliability. If the tray bothers you so much that even after your intial examination (?) and even further after our explanation of why it doesn't matter sonically or mechanically you continue to harp on its construction, then posibly the Mac just isn't the component you should own. McIntosh and the dealer prefer you to be satisfied. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you should take this up with your dealer. Complaining incessantly to us with vague references to issues that cannot be "resolved" isn't going to change anything.

So far you've not decribed a real complaint as far as I can see, just alluded to numerous "issues" that you claim cannot be resolved to your satisfaction. That makes me wonder whether the issues are actually with the component or not and just what would resolve the issues to your satisfaction.


"Has my 871 had issues with mechanics? It has had a few issues. Whether is was related to the drawer, the transport, motherboard or the platter itself it has stubbled a few times when having a few other devices available in which a stubble did not occur."


Sorry, you said you'd been around electronics for how many years? Players reject discs for lots of reasons and sometimes it is the cheapest player with the highest error correction and buffering rate that will play scratched and damaged discs where a higher quality player will reject the same disc due to unreadable data. You wouldn't be the first to make the inaccurate assumption that the more you pay the more discs it should play but the answer truly amounts to whether you would expect your Porsche to haul your boat. Sound quality is most often the first priority of a company such as McIntosh and playing all discs is not. Ask the service tech to confirm the unit meets the spec for disc errors and that's your answer. If after you've confirmed the unit is or is not meeting its manufacturer's spec, then you can make a decision whether you wish to keep what you see as a (potentially) defective component.



Otherwise, you've complaind numerous times of "issues" that you really haven't explained. That makes me think these issues are really only issues in your mind and not in Mac's specifications or performance. With each new post you sound more and more like someone in the throes of buyer's remorse. Possibly your dealer can resolve these issues but I get the feeling the Mac gear is performing to spec* and issues with flimsy drawers are now becoming a reason for you to dislike spending the money you did when you; 1) didn't take the time to do a proper audition and comparison or 2) to physically examine the component sufficiently to make sure you were getting what you expected.

In either case, you need to be satisfied and, if the local service department can't do this, then you need to return the units to Mac for their appraisal.

If they come back as performing within Mac's specifications, then you should decide whether you want to keep a unit that displeases you in so many personal ways despite meeting the manufacturer's specs. McIntosh is not going to redesign the player just for you. If it meets spec and you are still displeased with its performance, then it is you who will need to do some changing.


I will point out it seems as though whatever we post which says you might be missing something about the Mac player is being ignored by you in favor of what appears to be a forgone conclusion the Mac was not worth the investment you made when you said, "I'll take it". I am at a loss as to why you would want to keep something that you feel is not worth the investment. Sell it and buy what you prefer - but do a better job this time of selecting what you can live with. Alternately, take the advice you have been given at the forum where you decided to post and accept that flimsy drawers do not a disc player make. Playing all discs does not mean the unit is superior to another or more reliable than another. You've had other components, they must not have suited you at the time you made the decision to buy the Mac gear so you need to come to grips with why you weren't satisfied with those components and what exactly will satisfy you in the future.


If, on the other hand, your complaint is you don't feel McIntosh still builds quality components, your complaint has been registered and you are in the minority here and your complaints appear to be poorly reasoned, poorly detailed and poorly explained given the opposing viewpoints of how quality might be judged in a particular component.

After 40 years of working with electronics you certainly should have a feel for how to buy a good component - which you say you ignored this time by not doing a proper comparison - and how to get good service - which you appear to have forgotten if the two pieces have had numerous problems and gone into the service department several times without resolution. I have to conclude one of two things here, either you have issues that aren't really issues and therefore they cannot be rectified to your satisfaction within the constraints of McIntosh design and service goals or there simply is no reasoning with you since you've firmly made up your mind and you only came here to complain and possibly find someone to agree with you so you could tell the dealer and Mac there are others who don't think Mac is worth the money.

You're unlikely to find that response on a forum that has several McIntosh owners of both long and recent standing.


The disc drawer is what it is and it has no effect on the quality of the sound. If you prefer the sound of another player, then you should have done a better job of auditioning your options before you pulled out your credit card. Until you detail an actual complaint that might affect sound quality or reliability I have to assume you are not to be taken seriously and you came here only to complain.


(*You neglected once again to detail your issues with the MR88 but you should have been told a tuner is only as good as its antenna and antennas are subject to location. If the unit performs to spec, then you might want to complain about some portion of the system other than the tuner.)


.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 17
Registered: Jun-09
I think we've steered waaaay off track and I've gotton to the point on this subject matter how people could have so much time on there hands to write such long dissertations. I wrote the post as a consumer of a product (or products) new to Mc (or Mac) with observations only. Apparently I've stepped on Mc toes. I apologize for this. The bottom line is that products were purchased (and I take full responsibility for this), but yet in return for these purchases I experience "difficulties" with the equipment. Period. The specific detailing of the difficulties is a sidebar issue. The net results are still the same. Will I keep the products? I don't know. Maybe. Based on the exchanges for this posting I think some good ideas and thoughts were exchanged, but that's it. And, I very much appreciate everyones point of view.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14185
Registered: May-04
.

I see, now you have a problem with how much time I have on my hands. That is yet another issue which exists in your mind.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3268
Registered: Feb-07
Jan is a fast typer.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 18
Registered: Jun-09
Jan, David, Nuck ... I definitely appreciate ALL of your input! Don't get me wrong. I think you all offer great input and thoughts.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3269
Registered: Feb-07
Stick around Tony. This a great forum. I've been a member here for 3 years now and have learned tons from these guys!

Even Nuck ;-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1055
Registered: Jun-08
Yes, a lot of good ideas, that come in all flavours and are delivered in various manners. Some sweet, some sour, some rought around the edges and bitter in the middle. That's eCoustics.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3270
Registered: Feb-07
So true.

Good to hear from you again George!
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1056
Registered: Jun-08
I've been dropping in from time to time. I'm not on any other forums but this one - it's my home but I've been real, real busy at work and with my new house. No time it feels like. I can see the horizon now since we take possession in mid-February. The exterior is complete - now the work on the inside.
I've been enjoying my Els3's on my temporary setup - in my old bedroom, where I grew up - haven't listened to music there in years.
Will look to getting stands and a pair of floorstanders in the new house. Still got those MA's in mind.

Well I'll stop with that before I totally hi-jack this thread
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13929
Registered: Dec-04
Tony, the fact of the matter is the performance in audio, bar none.
I have yet to see a highquality unit that does NOT spit out a cd from time to time, for reasons unknown to me, as the cd will play fine in my car.

That, again, is a point that JV made.

High qualit units, or at least some of the high quality componants within, demand high quality fuel.

To expect a Meridian system to play MP3 discs to Meridian standards is unrealistic and borders on Utopian. This example is extreme, and not pointed to you Tony, but to all readers here.

Appropriate application of technology goes hand in hand with idiocyncracies associated with more 'refined' (neurotic) devices and processes.

Dude, feed it good stuff.

Have you ever owned a Ferrari?
Ever wanted one?
Ever visit the Ferrari forums?
Ever see the bill for an oil change?

Check out the Meridian forums.
Meridian is the absolute modicum for digital reproduction.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 19
Registered: Jun-09
I totally agree with the audio as being the end result and points well taken. To that ends, my main focus is to try and achieve as close to actual sound reproduction as I would hear at the symphony, concert or whatever. Getting to that ends has been a challenge and, at times, costly. When settling in on a system it can be distracting to have components breakdown or malfunction despite whether or not the device is under warranty or not. Your Ferrari analogy is a good one, which fits well with the maintenance and repair of hi-end audio.
 

New member
Username: Titozh

Mexico, D.F. MEXICO

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-09
I have a problem with MVP 871, the SACD discs.
The MVP only read this SACD in format CD ? Sometimes read SACD.
Why can I do ?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wxnet

Issaquah, Washington USA

Post Number: 20
Registered: Jun-09
I'm staying out this one.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3306
Registered: Feb-07
Firmware issue?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3307
Registered: Feb-07
The old 201's were prone to errors due to firmware issues (ie: bad software). McIntosh were hesitant to send out updates since they were very specific to certain builds of the players, and applying the wrong update to a machine would render it dead.

I would suggest you call McIntosh service.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13978
Registered: Dec-04
Suggest again.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3308
Registered: Feb-07
I would suggest you call McIntosh service.

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